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Calculation of photogenerated carrier escape rates from GaAs/AlGa 1-xAs quantum wells

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3 Author(s)
Moss, D.J. ; Central Res. Lab., Hitachi Ltd, Tokyo, Japan ; Ido, T. ; Sano, H.

We present a new theory for photogenerated carrier escape rates from single quantum wells, as a function of an applied electric field, that includes thermionic emission, direct tunneling, and tunneling via thermal occupation of upper subbands, and compare the results for GaAs/AlxGa1-xAs quantum wells with recent experiments. We account for the two dimensional (2D) density of states below the barrier, assume thermal equilibrium of carriers within the well, allow for the possibility of strain in the well and/or barrier, and include the contribution to electron thermionic emission from indirect conduction band minima. Our expressions for thermionic emission reduce, in the limit of large well width, to those derived by assuming a three-dimensional (3D) density of states. The results for electron emission from GaAs/AlxGa1-xAs quantum wells with x=0.2 and x=0.4 barriers at room temperature agree well with experiment. For wells with x=0.2 barriers, thermally assisted tunneling overtakes thermionic emission around 40 kV/cm, while for wells with x=0.4 barriers thermionic emission from the L valley conduction band minima dominates for fields less than 70 kV/cm. For holes we show that the escape rates are very sensitive to the in-plane effective masses, and results using simple expressions for the in-plane masses that do not include light/heavy-hole mixing agree poorly with experiment. The agreement with experiment is improved using in-plane masses that include light/heavy-hole mixing, particularly for wells with high barriers. We suggest that agreement with experiment would be improved by using more accurate in-plane hole masses for all of the subbands

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Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 4 )